Well, lets get this bad boy started shall we?!
Its all about Assimil.
I have been studying Italian for about a month (?) now and have found some really excellent sources for learning the language. Actually, they are great sources for learning a lot of different language, not just Italian. Obviously I am not sponsered or anything by Assimil because well… no one even knows about my blog so they wouldn’t sponser me even if I wanted them to.
Assimil is, as the kids call it these days (or maybe just kids in my days…), “The Shit“. Assimil tackles language like a 300 pound football player would tackle a 2 pound little bunny rabbit (ugh bad visual…). Are you worried about studying a language because it takes a lot of time? Because it takes a lot of money? Because it is hard? If so, pick up a copy of Assimil because with 30 minutes a day, costs like $25 or something ridiculously cheap, and makes learning language really really easy you can learn a language to basic conversational fluency within 3 months. Here is the thing. You have to study EVERY day.
Now, I haven’t finished the program yet so I can’t completely speak for it but many people swear by it. I am on lesson 15 (out of 100) and am already starting to gain a lot of confidence in comprehension.
Assimil splits language learning up into two different phases. First you are in a passive phase for 50 lessons. Then you start the active phase. In the passive phase you don’t try to create your own sentences and you don’t try to translate from English to Italian. You simply listen to audio in Italian, read translations in English, read and reread Italian text over and over and over and over and over and over and… well you get it. Basically you get to the point you can completely understand the Italian audio of each lesson without having to think twice. Then after lesson 50, when you have a lot of vocabulary and the language sounds almost natural to listen to, you start trying to translate sentences from English to Italian. You continue to do the passive phase while doing the active phase at the same time.
Ok, so you have NO excuse to not learn another language now. I am not going to go on and on about how important I think it is that everyone learn a language other than their mother tongue… just do a search on google for “why should I learn a second language” and you will find all kinds of reasons. Get Assimil. Learn a language. That simple.
Another great resource for Italian (and I think many other languages) is the web site Yabla.com . It has all kinds of videos with text in both your target language and English and it has lots of options for slowing down speech, repeating sentences and it is super easy to look up words in the dictionary.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -St. Augustine
The problem is that while the world is a book, there are many pages that are written in a different language. Without learning the other language we can never fully understand what we are reading. This is why language is important to me and why I am making it a mission to learn as many languages as I can (starting with one or two obviously).
More on language later: what I know (not much), why schools suck at teaching language, how I plan on learning multiple languages, etc.
Just remember, if you are studying language and you are not having fun, you are studying wrong!